FIJ Quarterly - Summer 2022 Edition

Original Artwork from April Lee

support; I did not work, as I primarily focused on raising our children. Financial constraints led to tensions in our marriage. He often would take out his frustrations on me with physical violence. I stayed in our marriage for our children. I wanted our children to have a father—unlike my experience. Our family was crumbling inside and out. We were unable to care for our home due to financial setbacks and the domestic violence in the home. There were days that we could not care for our yard. The township constantly cited us for violations and served us with summons to appear in court because of lawn maintenance and noise complaints. We started to become a target for our neighbors. An older man from the township constantly harassed me about the toys left on my porch. It felt like we were the unwanted Black family in the neighborhood. The constant and unnecessary interference by our neighbors and municipality

devolved into rage in our home. My husband unfortunately took out his frustrations on me with his fists. Thoughts of Suicide The fighting between my husband and me became more intense and physical. I often felt like he was abandoning us. I often became depressed and on more than one occasion suicidal. As a result, I made the difficult decision to separate. When my youngest was about 3 and my oldest was about 13, I sent them to stay with their aunt in Pennsylvania for the summer, until I could figure out how to separate from my husband. Needless to say, the abuse continued as the separation enraged my husband. He refused to cooperate with me at all, even with the children. He would blow up if he had to care for the children while I was out. He often

20 | FIJ Quarterly | Summer 2022

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